TRIPOLI, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Libyan eastern-based army on Thursday took over Sidi Ekhrebish area in the center of the eastern city of Benghazi, the last terrorist stronghold in the city, after operations that lasted more than five months.
"The army units, led by the special forces, have taken full control of the area of Sidi Ekhrebish, the last stronghold of the remaining terrorist groups in Benghazi where they have been stationed for months," the army's special forces spokesman, Milud Al-Zwai, told Xinhua.
"The army units began combing and securing operations in the area. Some of the terrorists fled after our units tightened their grip on them and carried out a major attack on their positions," Al-Zwai said, confirming the army is pursuing some fleeing militants in western Benghazi.
Major General Wanis Boukhamada, commander of the special forces, confirmed that Sidi Ekhrebish "has been completely freed and that the military operations are over."
A source of the army told Xinhua that an army unit pursued and ambushed fleeing militants, killing 12 of them.
The source confirmed that the army suffered no casualties, pointing out that the fleeing extremists are no more than ten, who are unlikely to launch any attack against the army.
The army published on its official Facebook page images of scattered bodies, saying they belong to terrorists who have been killed.
Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and the birthplace of the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi, has witnessed a three-year war between the army led by General Khalifa Haftar and extremist groups.
Haftar announced earlier in June taking over the entire city of Benghazi and defeating the rival armed groups. However, some militants remained in the city and mainly used landmines.